We sat inside on a sunny Thursday…the five of us….in common purpose.

Patricia is an elegant lady. Always has been. We first met in the halcyon days of junior high. It was then that boys from the 90% Jewish Rowland first mixed with good looking Christian girls from other elementary schools. Actually, it’s a stretch to say I’d met her. No, in those days introverts like me never had the kishkehs to speak to cool girls — unless of course they were “grandfathered in” from Rowland. New girls? Never. Not me. (Except for Cindy, of course, whom I met working Greenview’s cafeteria). So let me suggest that I knew who Pat was back then, and let’s let it go at that.

‘ Round that time that we met Ned. I did know him. Not that I ever felt his social equal, of course. I figured he was up there on the food chain, sort of like the Snyders, Cohns and Auerbachs of the world. Still, he was —even then — a nice guy… approachable. And may I also say (quoting the great George Costanza) that notwithstanding my “unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality”, even back then, Ned too was elegant.

And Jimmy Masseria. He was there. Hymie Massarabbo, as he once was called. I knew Jim first, of course—and in some ways— back in the schoolyard days….I knew him best. Could not have been easy for him growing up Catholic in our sea of tribe. Still there he was, is, and remains, a solid statue cemented to the landscape of my life.

And Bobby. Bobby. An impenetrable bond exists between us and in fact it was he that had sent me the email and called to see if I would be there. How perplexing is the irony that this gentle soul, this man of constancy and loyalty, this unwavering friend constant in his values since the sixth grade days of R.E.N., remains the most misunderstood member in our troupe. It shouldn’t be.

So there we were. We five—together in one room for the first time since ’67, (give or take a reunion or two).

—There to pay respects to another, whose Mom had passed.

Barry too was a South Euclid boy. We’ve run in concentric circles over the years, intersecting time to time. Periodically it’s at Tasty’s; more often than not it’s at reunions… yet once in a while, when it really matters.

Like last Thursday—
When his mother died—-
And the six of us were under one roof.

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